Progress (Noun): “Progress is the growth, development or continuous improvement in an area or skill. To progress means to advance your knowledge or understanding in some way”
It is a well established principle that in every lessons students must make progress. Though Ofsted has dropped the ‘rapid’ they still make it abundantly clear that students must develop or improve, at least in someway, in every lesson and to fail in this undertaking is to relegate us to the depths of ‘requires improvement’. The burden, therefore, falls on us teachers to make this visible to all people who cross the threshold of our classroom. However, Ofsted and observations aside, visible progress is essential in ensuring students are encouraged and engaged. Visible progress can be motivational as students can see: where they are; how far they have come and how far they have to go and it allows students to see that there is a point to their lessons.
So, here are my top tips for making progress visible to one and all!
1) PICK AND MIX ACTIVITIES
Students are offered 4 different short tasks (on different coloured paper) to do based on what they have just learnt or it could be as a starter based on what they learnt last lesson.
- Students can pick which level they start off on.
- Students can then ‘move up’ the tasks as their learning/confidence progresses.
- This allows differentiation and marks progress by showing teacher and student what level the student is working at,
The different colours:
- Pink: Gives the basic skills/demonstrates the basic information
- Yellow: Allows the skill to be explored in more depth/greater complexity
- Green: Are the more difficult, adventurous tasks
- Purple: Are the extreme tasks that require expert knowledge. These should be very aspirational tasks that only 1-2 students are able to do.
If a student successfully completes a purple task they then become “experts” and help others around the room. Experts can be marked by: sunglasses, headbands or badges so they can be easily identified in the classroom and to highlight their success as a reward.
Place the names/photos of students on a grid on the board depending what coloured tasks they are on, students move grids as they progress which can be a good visible motivator.
2) PROGRESS WHEEL
These are laminated sheets with a moveable arrow. Throughout the lessons students can move the arrow to which differentiated objective they have met so the teacher can measure how much progress has been made in reference to the objectives.
3) LEARNING QUESTIONS
Instead of learning objectives, have learning questions i.e.
By the end of the lesson you will be able to answer:
- How has Curley’s Wife been portrayed in this scene?
- How has the theme of prejudice been shown in this scene?
- How do the audience view Curley’s Wife in this scene?
Short and simple questions are much easier for students to engage with and understand what they are expected to know by the end of the lesson. To make the progress visible, ask students to attempt to answer the questions at the end of the lesson based on what they have learnt.
4) WATER COOLER REVIEW
At work, the most meaningful conversations happen around the water cooler, coffee machine or photocopier. Recreate this in your classroom. Have a picture of a water cooler/ coffee machine/photocopier printed on a piece of paper with a question and then ask students to go to different questions and discuss these with peers. If your really kind, you could even provide some refreshments or treats.
5) FIND SOMEONE WHO
Students are given a sheet full of questions and asked to find someone in the class who can answer one of the questions on their sheet. The teacher can listen in and ascertain what students know and it is a useful way for students to learn from their peers.
6) BEST ONE FROM LAST YEAR
At the start of the year place a student’s best piece of work from last year into the front of their exercise book to demonstrate the progress that they have made over the course of the year. It is also useful for teachers to see the best piece of work that a student is capable of producing to ensure that they are encouraged to improve from this standard.
7) RAPID PROGRESS REVIEW
- Give a students a set deadline i.e. 3 minutes.
- Within that time limit, give students a short task to do without any guidance i.e. In 3 minutes, create a simile.
- Create a success criteria with a point score.
- Students must review their task based on the success criteria and add up their points.
- Students are then given a further minute to improve their initial task.
- Students must then swap their work with a peer who will assess their work against the success criteria and give students their final score.
- The student who showed the most progress NOT the student with the highest score, wins a prize/merit.
8) BEAT THE TEACHER
Students are given a success criteria and asked to apply it to a model answer of peer’s work, by applying the success criteria and identifying parts of it, they are demonstrating that they understand it.
9) MAKE IT
Ask students to show you what they have learnt in some visual way by asking students to model something out of Play Dough or foil. This is a good tactile way of students showing what they have learnt and the conversations and discussions generated from students feedbacking their models can often be very fruitful.
10) PASS THE PARCEL
A fun way to review progress made is by a game of pass the parcel. When the music stops, the student must answer a question, if they get it right they can unwrap the parcel, if they get it wrong, the parcel will be passed to the next student who will now try and answer the question. It’s a really fun way of revising a topic and answering key questions.
11) MUSICAL CHAIRS
Another fun way to review the learning is to play musical chairs, the student left standing when the music stops must answer a question. If they answer correctly, they stay in the game, if incorrect, they’re out. All the students who are still in by the end of the game get a reward or prize.
12) RELAY RACE
This is one my favourites and the students love it too!!! Give students a stapled pack of paper. On each sheet of paper is a question. Students must, as a team, work through the whole pack of questions. However, before they can move onto the next question one student must run to the teacher to check that their answer is correct. If it is not correct, they are sent back to try again at the question until they get it right. This ensures answers are quality checked and students only move on when they demonstrate sufficient progress. The first team to finish all the questions win a prize.
13) EXIT PASSES
Every student is given a pass at the start of the lesson, to enable them to leave they must answer the questions on the pass. Students hand these in to the teacher as the leave to ensure progress has been made by all.
14) GAME SHOWS
There are power point versions of many of the best TV game shows, these can be an excellent way to see how much progress has been made in a fun and engaging way for students.
15) WORD GAMES
A good way of learning/ revising key terms is through games like Taboo, Pictionary and Blankety Blank. You can also play the YES/NO game where students are asked a range of quick fire questions and can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’
Display a letter or word in each corner of the room, ask students questions and students must run to the correct answer. The first student to get there gets a reward but question students when they have chosen their answer to ensure that they haven’t just ‘followed the crowd’
17) MIND MAP
Students make a mind map at the start of a lesson/topic summarising everything they know and then continue to add to it throughout a lesson/scheme in a different colour to demonstrate progress throughout a lesson/topic.
18) CONTINUUM LINES
These can either be done physically with the students standing in a line or on with a line displayed on the whiteboard. At one end of the line it is ‘understand fully’, in the middle ‘need more learning’ and at the other end ‘don’t get it!’. You can then either ask them questions or repeat the learning objectives and ask them to stand near the phrase that is closest to how they are feeling. Alternatively students can use Post-its with the names on and place them on a line on the board.
19) POSTCARD TO PARENTS
Students write a post card to parents summarising what they have learnt in that lesson/week it not only summarises what they have learnt but engages parents in their progress.
20) CARELESSLY COMPLETED
What’s wrong with this? Give students a piece of work/display something on the board with inaccuracies for them to identify and correct—it is good practice to also pick out what the response has done well too!
21) QUESTION CORNERS
- Each student is given a card with a question and 4 possible answers on it.
- Each possible answer is designed to grasp how well students have ascertained the topic so they will be in different degrees or correctness.
- Independently they must select an answer.
- There will be four work areas allocated, students must go to the area that corresponds to which answer they selected.
- The groups will then be given a differentiated task based on their ability level which will help to improve their learning even further.
22) PASS THE BUCK
Different questions or statements are passed around the room and students/groups are able to add their thoughts or responses to it. Each group will respond in a different colour so it is visible what each group understands.
23) PROGRESS JOURNAL
Students are given a journal separate to their usual exercise book/file. Once a week they are asked to summarise what they have learnt. They can present this summary in any way they like to allow ownership over the journals. These should be marked to ensure their notes are thorough and then added to to show further progress and development throughout the course, though further additions should be done in a different colour to make progress visible.
24) THE KILLER QUESTION
‘What do you know now that you didn’t know at the start of the lesson?’ Students can respond to this in any way by summarising in writing, diagrams, images etc as long as it outline what they have learnt within the lesson.
25) MISCONCEPTION GRID
Students are given a misconception grid with various statements. Students must choose whether they think it’s right or wrong and how sure they are. They must tick only one box and explain why they feel this way. This will help inform the teacher of what students know and how confident they are in this.
Enjoy making progress visible!!